Will Smith joined his wife and “Red Table Talk” host Jada Pinkett Smith for an honest talk about his parenting for a special Father’s Day special.
The two chatted about Smith’s first wife, Sheree Fletcher, and the son they share, Trey, 27.
“I want to talk about one interesting concept that you’ve brought up quite a bit in regards to Trey and divorce — and the idea being that just because a man might not be the best husband, does not mean he isn’t a good father,” Pinkett Smith said.
Smith responded, “With Sheree and with Trey, that was a really difficult time. Divorce was the worst thing in my adult life, divorce was the ultimate failure for me. I’ve been hurt a lot in my adult life, but I don’t think anything touches the failure of getting divorced from my 2-year-old son’s mother. If a man’s not a great husband then he loses his parental rights. And I’m a way better father than I am a husband.”
Fletcher has previously appeared on an episode of “Red Table Talk” in 2018 where the two ladies spoke about developing their own relationship despite struggles.
Fletcher and Pinkett Smith had got in a heated argument when Fletcher called to speak with Trey, who was 3 at the time. Fletcher admitted she wasn’t “respectful” and Pinkett Smith snapped back.
“Will Smith let me have it,” said Pinkett Smith. “His take was, ‘That is Trey’s mother and that’s just not your place.'”
The next time the two women saw each other, they worked things out.
Smith spoke about his own experiences with his father and how he knew at a young age he was going to be a better man than his dad.
“Because of my experience of seeing Daddio punch my mother, I knew that my kids would never see me do anything violent towards their mothers, but in the first couple years of Trey’s life, because Sheree and I were divorced, I think my desire to never have my son see me in that way made me more absent as a father,” Smith said.
Smith vowed to be a present father which included flying back and forth between filming in Beijing with Jaden to L.A. to see Trey play football.
“We were shooting ‘Karate Kid’ in Beijing, and it was during Trey’s football season. That was a very difficult time for our family, and Jaden and I commuted from Beijing every single Friday. We would fly and land Friday afternoon in L.A., go to Trey’s football game, we would stay home Saturday, and then fly back to be at work on Monday morning in Beijing,” Smith revealed. “[We did that] for ten weeks. I would say that is the highpoint of my parenting. There’s very few things in my life I enjoyed as much as watching that boy play football, and he loved me watching him doing it. He could feel my authentic joy to be there… Going from the ‘Karate Kid’ and flying home every weekend to watch Trey play, I was like I’m fathering the hell out these kids!”
A tough moment in Smith’s parenthood was when Willow shaved her head mid Whip My Hair tour even though she committed to 30 days she wanted to go home after five shows.
“It was so devastating to me when she shaved her head bald,” Smith said. “Because her record is Whip My Hair. I’m like, that’s a protest against me.”
But that moment really made him step back and look at how to parent each child differently.
“[Willow] introduced me to feelings… I would say that Whip My Hair thing put a pause button on my overt parenting. I stopped, and I just started watching my kids, and with Willow, I started to see that there was a higher value in talking to her about how she feels about the situation versus how to fix the situation, and it became the new thought process for me.”